KU fans watch the Jayhawks take on the Cowboys at Power & Light District in Kansas City
With the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Jayhawk fans crowded into the Power & Light district for its Fan Fest. The game was broadcast on multiple TVs and many of the nearby bars opened early.
Kansas City, Mo. KU had trouble working the ball inside against Okie State’s zone defense. Marcus Morris had 16 points off 7-of-15 shooting but just four points off 1-of-4 shooting the second half. Markieff Morris had 10 points off 3-of-5 shooting and Thomas Robinson one point. He missed all five floor shots.
“I think we always make an effort to get the ball inside, even if it doesn’t look like it,” senior Brady Morningstar said. “They were playing back in the post. When we were throwing it in there, they were harassing them. It was tough for our bigs to get good looks. We missed a lot of shots around the rim and a ton of threes. It’s something we’ve got to work on.”
“I think they sucked in more. They dared us to shoot the three. We definitely shot it,” Markieff Morris said.
KU hit 23 of 64 shots (.359) while missing 20 of 25 threes.
“They put everybody in the lane,” KU coach Bill Self said. “You cram everybody in the lane, you have to make shots to stretch it. One thing we’ve done a great job this year is get the ball inside, primarily because they have got to guard guys on the perimeter. They played behind, pushed us out. They backed all the way off. We shot too many threes, in large part because they forced us to shoot threes.”
Elijah Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor took turns on OSU guard Keiton Page, who hit six of 12 shots (two of six from three) and scored 23 points. Page was 9-for-9 from the line.
“I think he is the best defending out of our starters, the most sound,” Self said of Johnson, who shadowed Page on OSU’s final possession, forcing Jean-Paul Olukemi to hoist the final long-range shot at the buzzer. “The biggest reason is, he didn’t go for shot fakes. Some other guys have been known to do that in recent memory.”
Of course, Johnson didn’t play a perfect game, either.
“Not great, because we come out of a timeout and we call a play, and the play doesn’t work, and he dribbles out the shot clock,” Self said of KU’s final possession that resulted in a Morningstar airball. “So that wasn’t great. ... But I thought he did fine. Against a zone, I thought he may get a shot at the top of the key, and that’s why he was in there.”
KU has played a team three times in one season six times in the Self era. The Jayhawks have swept all the meetings.
No. 1 seed coming
Self has been told by some media experts his team has wrapped up a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs.
“I don’t think what happens from this point forward will affect our seeding,” Self said.
Dooley on Wyoming list?
Kansas University assistant coach Joe Dooley is being mentioned in Wyoming media reports as a possible candidate for the vacant University of Wyoming head-coaching position. Dooley worked one year as an assistant at Wyoming. He also worked at Mountain West school New Mexico and has head-coaching experience at East Carolina.
The United States Basketball Writers Assn. announced its all-district teams. Self was named coach of the year and Marcus Morris player of the year in district six, which encompasses Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota. Markieff Morris was also named to the 10-member all-district six team.
KU has 30 victories for the fourth time in the last five seasons, 10 times in school history. .. KU is 104-53 all-time versus OSU. ... KU advanced to the tourney semifinals for the 13th time in Big 12 history and 31st time overall. ... KU is 29-7 at the Big 12 tourney. ... Self is 232-45 at KU, 439-150 all-time. ... Marcus Morris led KU in scoring for the fifth straight game with 16 points. He moved into 29th place on the KU all-time scoring chart with 1,268. He passed Jerod Haase who finished his KU career with 1,264 points. ... Brady Morningstar scored 11 points, including nine in the second half. Morningstar now has six double-figure scoring games, however, this was his first since scoring 16 points versus Colorado on Feb. 19. ... Markieff Morris reached double-figure scoring for the 26th time with 10 points. ... Marcus Morris is now 20th on the KU all-time rebounding chart with 613 caroms. He passed four former Jayhawks with his 11 rebounds Thursday, including Kenny Gregory (603), Pierre Russell (607), Richard Scott (607) and Darnell Jackson (612). .. Morningstar had four assists and one turnover in 36 minutes giving him 64 assists and just 15 turnovers in his last 17 games. ... KU is 26-0 when out-rebounding its opponent. KU out-rebounded OSU 42-36, including an 18-8 advantage on the offensive glass.